Depression and Healing: How to Deal with Depression

Depression and Healing: How to Deal with Depression

Approximately one in every five young adults between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four suffer from depression. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting 6.7% (more than 16 million) of American adults each year.    If untreated, depression can have severe and s

Approximately one in every five young adults between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four suffer from depression. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting 6.7% (more than 16 million) of American adults each year.    If untreated, depression can have severe and sometimes long-term consequences on every aspect of your life. What is truly disturbing is that almost 75 % of individuals with mental disorders, including depression, never receive the treatment they require. 


Sadness and grief are normal human emotions. We all have these feelings from time-to-time, but they typically fade away within a couple of days. Major depression, or major clinical depression, however, is something entirely different. It is a diagnosable condition, a mood disorder causing long-lasting symptoms like overwhelming sadness, low energy, loss of appetite, and a scarcity of interest in things that used to bring pleasure in the past. Untreated, depression can cause serious health complications and suicidal tendencies. Diagnosing depression is handled on a case-by-case basis. Although there is no official depression testing regime, to diagnose depression, mental health professional uses several tools. They complete physical examinations, order lab tests to rule out other diseases, and enquire about symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  

Difference between sadness and depression 

Sooner or later, everyone gets the blues. Feeling sadness, loneliness, or grief once you undergo a challenging life experience is a component of being human. And most of the time, you will continue to function. You recognize that in time you will recover, and you do.  

But what if you do not bounce back? What if your feelings of sadness linger, are excessive, or cause a disturbance in your work, sleep, or recreation activities? What if you feel fatigued or worthlessness, or experiencing weight changes alongside your sadness? You are experiencing major depression. People with depression cannot merely "pull themselves together" and be convalescent. Treatment with counseling, medication,  and sometimes both are vital to a successful and speedy recovery. 

Some symptoms of major depression are: 

  1. Sadness or an "empty" feeling 
  2. Loss of interest in activities that you enjoy 
  3. Significant weight loss 
  4. Inability to sleep soundly / Excessive sleeping 
  5. Incessant fatigue or constant loss of energy 
  6. Difficulty concentrating or indecisiveness 

How exercise can help 

Improved self-esteem may be a vital psychological advantage of regular physical activity. Once you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling within the body, almost like the one that comes with morphine secretion.  

Endorphins act as analgesics, which suggests that they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. Endorphins are manufactured in your brain, medulla spinalis, and lots of other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are equivalent to the ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike morphine, the activation of those receptors by the body's endorphins does not cause addiction or dependence. 

There is research that proves an immediate link between regular exercise and serotonin secretions in the brain. 

Regular exercise: 

  1. Reduce stress 
  2. Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression 
  3. Boost self-esteem 
  4. Improve sleep 

Exercise also has these added health benefits: 

  1. It strengthens your heart. 
  2. It increases energy levels. 
  3. It lowers vital signals of health and wellbeing like blood pressure 
  4. It improves muscle tone and strength. 
  5. It strengthens and builds bones. 


Being depressed can cause you to feel helpless. Along with therapy and medication, there is a lot you can do on your own to battle depression. Changing your behavior -- your physical activity, lifestyle, and even your way of thinking -- are all treatments for depression 

What are you able to do daily? Start by making some changes to your lifestyle. Fall asleep and get up at roughly the same time every night and morning, take all the distractions out of your bedroom -- no computer and no TV.  In time, you'll find your sleep improves. Eat healthier foods, exercise, try to lose some weight, and try meditation or yoga. 

If you discover that nothing works, then there are multiple therapies available. Three of the  most common methods utilized in depression treatment include: 

  • cognitive behavioral therapy 
  • interpersonal therapy, and  
  • psychodynamic therapy. 

But often, a blended approach is employed. Consider approaching a medical professional for help if you find that nothing is working for you.

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